Written by ADW News
A man accused of trying to steal from a Lithonia Walmart who died, apparently at the hands of store personnel, has been identified as Vidal Calloway.
According to authorities, Calloway was caught shoplifting two DVD players at around 1:30 a.m. Sunday at the store on Fairington Road. He was followed by two Walmart employees and a security guard, who was an independent contractor, into the parking lot where a "physical altercation" took place and police were called.
When police arrived they found the three on top of the man. An officer who handcuffed the suspected shoplifter detected no resistance from him and ordered the employees off of the man.
The suspected shoplifter was unresponsive and bleeding from his nose and mouth. He was taken to DMC-Hillandale Hospital and pronounced dead.
"This is truly a sad situation," Gee said. "We don't know all of the facts right now. We're in the process of working with law enforcement to deterimine all of the facts and cooperating and providing any information we have to assist in the investigation.
The preliminary police investigation indicates the Calloway was placed in a choke hold by the security officer. The cause of death is still to be determined by the DeKalb Medical Examiner's office.
"No amount of merchandise is worth someone's life," said Walmart spokesperson Dianna Gee in a statement. "Associates are trained to disengage from situations that would put themselves or others at risk." She added, "That being said, this is still an active investigation and we're working with police to provide any assistance."
Records show Calloway had been arrested in DeKalb County multiple times for crimes ranging from shoplifting to drug charges. He was in and out of jail at least 16 times since 1996.
Authorities in DeKalb County are still trying to decide whether to criminally charge the security guard involved in the fight.
Walmart put the two employees on paid leave and fired the security guard.
This is not the first death at a Walmart during Black Friday. Calloway's death follows a Walmart employee who was trampled to death on Black Friday.